Break the Rule or Not?

I use

and

but

and so

to start sentences often in my writing.

It just feels right. The tone is more conversational and seems to have a better flow. But does it make for good writing?

I’ve asked this question before. But I feel like I need to ask it again.

I’ve been revising my young adult novel “4 Wheels and a Piece of Maple.” My cousin was kind enough to read it critically. She pointed out all the flaws in the book and I’m happy that she was so brutally honest with me.

I’ve spent the weekend, going over her notes and making the changes in my novel. Here is one of the notes she wrote,

You have to decide if you are comfortable breaking the “Do Not Start A Sentence With But or And” rule. I will continue to point them all out, but you will have to decide if you want to do this. I’ve seen big name authors do it, infrequently.

It’s her word “infrequently” that really got me thinking. I was amazed at the amount of times I actually started sentences with conjunctions. It was probably too much. So I changed all but a few of them. The only ones I kept were in dialogue because they sounded natural to me there.

But as I read the newspaper this weekend, I noticed that several journalists actually do break the rule. I then thumbed through a few of my novels and couldn’t find any examples of this blatant rule breaking.

I wonder if it’s okay to break this rule in newspapers and blogs because they are more informal than the novel. What do you think?